89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 13 January 2009: 9:15 AM
An Overview of the WxChallenge Forecasting Competition and Its Use as an Educational Tool
Room 125B (Phoenix Convention Center)
Bradley G. Illston, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and J. B. Basara, M. Voss, and C. C. Weiss
Poster PDF (368.6 kB)
The WxChallenge forecasting competition is a project developed at the Univ. of Oklahoma to bring a state-of-the-art, fun, and exciting forecasting contest to students in colleges and universities across North America. Founded in 2006, the contest involves approximately 1500 forecasters from nearly 70 higher education institutions across the United States and Canada. Forecasts of maximum and minimum temperature, maximum sustained wind speed, and total precipitation are made for ten cities over an eight month period. The cutting edge contest runs over the internet to allow for forecast submission ease, near-real-time updates and results, and a centralized location for forecasting information and tools. Additionally, forecasters have access to additional resources, such as online message boards, to aid in their interaction with other forecasters and further their understanding of forecasting methods.

The design of the WxChallenge forecasting competition allows professors to use forecasting in the classroom without a significant investment of personal time and effort. In 2007-08, the WxChallenge was utilized as a teaching tool in 63 courses and feedback from instructors showed how the competition was a valuable asset in their curriculum. The WxChallenge allows those instructors already using forecasting competitions to outsource the administrative work and focus on teaching. Additionally, it introduced forecasting into classrooms that had not utilized it in the past with relative ease.

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